Making the Most of Your Square Footage

Woman throwing moneyA fitness center in your complex is a winning selling feature, can generate revenue above and beyond your monthly rents, and in this economy, it can mean the difference between having rented units or more vacancies. See Tell Your Tenants to Shape Up.

Incorporating a fitness center takes planning. Finding space for your fitness center is, of course, the biggest step of them all.

Finding and allocating sufficient space is a challenge for most companies, regardless of what they are trying to do. In effect, you are looking to add square footage without really adding square footage. Does that make sense? Well, here are a few ideas that might make this process easier for you:

1) Walk around your complex. Find a location that is equidistant from all ends of the complex. Does it take 2 minutes to walk there? Five minutes? Whatever the answer is, try to find a location that is somewhere in the middle of your grounds.

2) Locate an actual space. Do you have a community center that does not get used that often? An old pool house? What about an old laundry facility, or even (dare I say it?) an empty apartment! Thats right. An empty apartment. A first floor or ground floor one is probably best. Can you take that unit and gut it completely and make a nice fitness center out of it? You bet! And you will be surprised at how much additional income you can make off of that one apartment. But we will discuss that later.

3) Determine surroundings. The last thing you want to do is add a great fitness space but annoy the tenants. So make sure you select a space that is both appropriate and sufficient while keeping the tenants privacy and peace in mind. After all, that is your number one focus in your business. If you decide to take an empty apartment and turn it into a fitness center, what obstacles or challenges will that present? Make a list and see if you can work it out. Regardless of the area you select, this should be done. We call it counting the cost.

4) Budget. How many resources will you need to make the conversion? Time, money and planning are all involved. See if you can outline a plan and come up with a game plan or preliminary budget based on the space you have selected. This might help to determine if your first choice is the only choice.

So now you have homework. Go out and start looking around. Get some feedback from your employees and even some of your tenants. Then check back for the next step in the process. Or, if you want to jump ahead, email [email protected] to get started. AAOA members receive discounts.

See our feature, The Renter Demographic: Who Are They Now.

American Apartment Owners Association offers discounts on products and services for landlords related to your real estate investment including REAL ESTATE FORMS, tenant debt collection, tenant background checks, insurance and financing. Find out more at

To subscribe to our blog, click here.